Monday, October 28, 2013

Digital Biometric Business IT Boom Boom thanks to Prismic UID!UID's promise of service delivery to poor hides IT, biometrics industry profits

Digital Biometric Business IT Boom Boom thanks to Prismic UID!UID's promise of service delivery to poor hides IT, biometrics industry profits

India's top 4 IT firms build Rs. 56,000 crore cash chest, Infosys leads

TCS, Infosys, Wipro and HCL Technologies despite the turbulent macroeconomic scenario continue to grow

Coalgate: Assocham writes open letter to PM, says worried about 'half baked truth'

Palash Biswas

Former  Infosys Boss Nandan Nilekani is not an elected representative of the people as Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Sam Pitroda and other extra constitutional Extraterrestrial policy makers are not public servants who should be responsible to the parliament as the Prime Minister and the cabinet happen to be.But Nandan Nilekani, who represents India Inc and specifically IT sector, has been elevated to the rank of a cabinet minister and his corporate project UID has been made mandatory to sustain citizenship,civic and human rights.Every service is digital and it benefits IT companies specifically Infosys.Technology has become an extraordinary tool of surveillance as well as unprecedented and non challenged scam format as Two G spectrum and Radia tapes showcased in many ways.

Even after the whole world unitedly standing in protest to US PRISM, no Indian entity is questioning the validity of the illegal NATO UID Plan to kill citizen sovereignty!

Mind you,it is bloody greater scam than coalgate and Two G spectrum not to mention the minor fodder scam for which the OBC leader Lalu Prasad Yadab has been shunted to jail.

Neither the rule of law nor the democratic system do stand relevant as expressing concerns on famous Industrialists' name being dragged into the coal allocation scam, Industry body Assocham has written a strongly worded letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.The industry body has also cautioned that such instances could impair decision making too.

Elected leaders and strikers of the social justice equity teams may be convicted and sent to jail,but famous industrialists have to be bailed out.

It is brute absolute corporate regime. Nothing else!

As the budget is all about forgone taxes and stimulus for the one percent ruling hegemony, judicial trials  seem tb subjected to eye washing for the erring corporate governance and punishing only those who raise voices against inherent injustice and inequality.

However,it may be treated as contempt of court provided some citizen speak out and question the futile trial to bail out the high profile economic criminals!

The National Identification Authority of India Bill, 2010, which will give the government's ambitious Aadhaar initiative a legal backing, is likely to be discussed by the Cabinet this week.

The Bill, which was sent back to the Planning Commission with some amendments, "will be taken up by the Cabinet this week and is likely to be pushed in the winter session [of Parliament]," informed sources said.

The UIDAI, which issues 12-digit Aadhaar numbers to residents, now operates through an executive order.

Last month, the Supreme Court ruled that Aadhaar cards could not be made mandatory for a citizen to avail himself or herself of government benefits and services such as gas connections, scholarships and salaries. It also said the number should not be allotted to any illegal immigrant. The government, whose "game changer" Direct Benefit Transfer project could be impacted adversely by the ruling, has gone into a firefighting mode to resolve the crisis over the Unique Identity (UID).

On Tuesday, the government will approach the Supreme Court for modification of its order.

The Bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha in 2010, but was rejected in 2011 by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, chaired by Yashwant Sinha.

Assocham has sought Prime Minister's intervention to end the "environment of distrust" which had arisen due to "half-baked cases" against industry leaders.

"We find ourselves in a situation where half-baked cases are being slapped against top leaders of the industry and retired bureaucrats based on perceptions, interpretations and mere inferences," Assocham wrote in a letter to Manmohan Singh.

"We fear that more industrialists could be targets of the CBI probes which in all likelihood would not bring out any substantial evidence of any wrongdoing, but the problem is that the reputation of individual enterprises gets jolted," it said.

"Sir, we are afraid, if this environment of distrust continues, the decision making will get further hampered," it said in the letter.

"The CBI cases against well respected industrialists and former senior bureaucrats are... Something we can ill-afford at this point of time when our economy is facing a tremendous loss of investor and consumer confidence," the chamber said.

Nevertheless, the CBI on Monday moved the Supreme Court seeking its permission to include one more officer in the team of 39 officials conducting probe in coal blocks allocation scam.

The agency filed the application as the apex court had directed it that no changes be made in the team of officers probing the multi-crore scam.

The investigating agency in its application said that the reason for adding one more officer in the present investigating team has been disclosed in a sealed envelope which will be handed over to a bench headed justice R M Lodha when the case will be taken up for hearing on Tuesday.

The sealed cover would also contain the CV of the officer proposed to be associated with the investigating team.

The three-page application said, "Considering the reasons disclosed in the sealed cover, it would be in the interest of justice, if this court may be please to allow the present application permitting the CBI to add one more CBI officer to the present team of 39 officers."

The matter pertaining to coal scam is likely to be taken up on Tuesday and the bench is expected to go through the latest status report filed recently by CBI in a sealed envelope.

CBI had on October 22 filed its fresh status report which is expected to inform the court about 14th FIR which was filed recently against industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla, his company Hindalco and former coal secretary P C Parakh.

The apex court is also expected to consider tomorrow applications filed by petitioner in the case seeking its direction that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who held additional charge of the coal ministry at that time, be asked to file an affidavit on the alleged irregularities in coal allocation during his tenure.

he CBI on Monday moved the Supreme Court seeking its permission to include one more officer in the team of 39 officials conducting probe in coal blocks allocation scam.

The agency filed the application as the apex court had directed it that no changes be made in the team of officers probing the multi-crore scam.

The investigating agency in its application said that the reason for adding one more officer in the present investigating team has been disclosed in a sealed envelope which will be handed over to a bench headed justice R M Lodha when the case will be taken up for hearing on Tuesday.

The sealed cover would also contain the CV of the officer proposed to be associated with the investigating team.

The three-page application said, "Considering the reasons disclosed in the sealed cover, it would be in the interest of justice, if this court may be please to allow the present application permitting the CBI to add one more CBI officer to the present team of 39 officers."

The matter pertaining to coal scam is likely to be taken up on Tuesday and the bench is expected to go through the latest status report filed recently by CBI in a sealed envelope.

CBI had on October 22 filed its fresh status report which is expected to inform the court about 14th FIR which was filed recently against industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla, his company Hindalco and former coal secretary P C Parakh.

The apex court is also expected to consider tomorrow applications filed by petitioner in the case seeking its direction that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who held additional charge of the coal ministry at that time, be asked to file an affidavit on the alleged irregularities in coal allocation during his tenure.

Thus, Digital Biometric Business IT Boom Boom thanks to Prismic UID!Unconstitutional,illegal NATO plan US.Nilekani dares to declare to sustain this anti People ethnic cleansing agenda despite supreme court`s order.

Contempt of court and violation of human rights amount for boom boom Infosys!


That is why, country's top four IT companies -- TCS, Infosys, Wipro and HCL Technologies -- have seen their combined cash chest swell to a whopping $9 billion (Rs. 56,000 crore) as their businesses continue to generate profitable growth despite turbulent macroeconomic scenario.This marks an increase of about $1 billion since the beginning of current fiscal in the four companies' cumulative cash position, which includes cash, cash equivalents, bank deposits and disposable financial investments.

The combined cash position of these companies stood at about $8 billion at the start of 2013-14 financial year.

Individually, Tata group's IT arm, N Chandrasekaran-led TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) reported total cash and cash equivalents of $1.22 billion as on September 30, 2013.

Its closest rival, N R N Murthy-led Infosys also saw its cash balance stand at $4.31 billion at the end of September 30, 2013. Significantly, Infosys accounts for nearly half of the total $9 billion cash chest of the four IT giants.

Azim Premji-led Wipro, which continued to post slowest sequential growth in revenues in the quarter ended September 30 among the four companies, reported a cash chest of $2.5 billion.

HCL Technologies, the country's fourth largest IT firm, ended September quarter with cash and cash equivalents, (including deposits) of $979 million.

Amid expectations that the growing cash position of these companies would be deployed into purposes aimed at generating additional shareholder wealth, all the four companies have seen robust rallies in their respective share prices.

TCS, which commands nearly Rs. 4 lakh crore market value, has seen its stock rise from Rs. 1,500 levels to over Rs. 2,000 range so far in the current fiscal.

Infosys, which has seen a kind of exodus of senior executives in recent months, has also performed strongly in the stock market since Murthy's return and the shares have risen from Rs. 2,900 level to above Rs. 3,400 now.

Wipro's share price has surged from Rs. 440 level to about Rs. 480 at present; while HCL Technologies saw its shares soar from Rs. 800 range to Rs. 1,100 now.


Bangalore: Infosys, India's second-largest software services exporter, posted a quarterly profit which missed analyst estimates, and raised the lower end of its revenue guidance for the fiscal year ending in March.

Consolidated net profit for the three months to September 30 was Rs 2,407 crore (Rs 24.07 billion) compared with Rs 2,369 crore (Rs 23.69 billion) in the same period a year earlier, the Bangalore-based company said in a statement.

That missed the 26.26 billion rupees average of analyst estimates according to Thomson Reuters, though the earnings suffered from a 2.19 billion rupee provision for "visa related matters."

Infosys, which trails market leader Tata Consultancy Services by revenue, counts among its customers Bank of America Corp, BT Group, Procter & Gamble and Volkswagen AG.

As expected, Infosys, one of the relatively few companies in India to give guidance, narrowed the range for its fiscal year revenue growth outlook to 9-10 percent, from 6-10 percent previously.

The forecast compares with 12-14 percent for the sector, according to an estimate by the National Association of Software and Services Companies.


Infosys Ltd has revised its revenue outlook for this fiscal (2013-14) marginally upwards largely owing to depreciating rupee against dollar.

In a regulatory filing to the stock exchanges on Friday, the IT bellwether said its consolidated revenue for fiscal under review (FY 2014) will grow 21-22 per cent year-on-year (YoY) under the Indian accounting standard and 9-10 percent (YoY) under the International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS).

The revenue guidance has been revised upwards from 13-17 per cent in rupee terms and 6-10 per cent in dollar terms given July 11 when rupee was at Rs.59.39 against one US dollar.

Why biometric identification of citizens must be resisted? Part I

The core issue is: Will efforts to undermine the fundamental right of Indians to move and transact freely around the country and to live without constantly having to prove who they are, succeed or fail?

Ever wondered as to why bankers are immensely interested in biometric identification and verification of citizens? Biometric identification implies that movements of present and future generations of citizens are tracked like those of bacteria under a microscope. This exercise of creating a centralised 'online database' of biometric information of Indians is unfolding under the supervision of Planning Commission's Nandan Nilekani and Home Ministry's C Chandramouli.  The core issue here is: will efforts to undermine the fundamental right of Indians, to move and transact freely around the country and to live without constantly having to prove who they are, succeed or fail?

What is ironical is that while it is inevitable that no centralised electronic database of biometric information can be made leak-proof in the post Wikileaks and Edward Snowden world, bankers, biometric technology companies and their collaborators are marketing it as an answer to increasing demand for identity proof and identity protection from citizens.

In 1998, National Biometric Test Centre, San Jose State University set up by the Biometric Consortium, which is the US government interest group on biometric authentication was asked to testify to the USA's House Committee on Banking and Financial Services hearing on "Biometrics and the Future of Money". This testimony of 20 May 1998 was reprinted under the title, "Biometric Identification and the Financial Services Industry". This centreemerged from a meeting of Biometric Consortium held in 1995, at the FBI training facility. This test centre has defined biometric authentication as "the automatic identification or identity verification of an individual based on physiological and behaviouralcharacteristics".

Whatever is happening in India is an exercise in imitation of what was attempted in the US. There was bitter opposition to what was attempted in the US through the REAL ID Act of 2005. The US Senate never discussed or voted on the REAL ID Act specifically and no Senate committee hearings were conducted on the REAL ID Act prior to its passage, exposing its undemocratic character and the Bill's proponents avoided a substantive debate on a far-reaching piece of legislation by attaching it to a "must-pass" bill. Barack Obama categorically opposed it during the 2008 presidential election campaign. As of 2008, all 50 states have either applied for extensions of the original 11 May 2008 compliance deadline or received unsolicited extensions.

As of October 2009, about 25 states from the US have approved either resolutions or binding legislation not to participate in the program. Among other concerns they have argued that it infringes upon states' rights. With Janet Napolitano, a prominent critic of the program as the head of US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the future of the law appears sealed. On 5 March 2011, the DHS postponed the effective date of the REAL ID Act. Through Document Number FR 5-08, DHS announced that US states would need to be in compliance with the REAL ID Act by 1 December 2017. Bills have been introduced into US Congress to amend or repeal it. The controversial, $4 billion REAL ID initiative was meant to provide secure licenses in the hands of 245 million Americans by 2017. The new proposal, Providing for Additional Security in States' Identification (PASS ID) Act is expected to eliminate many of the more burdensome technological requirements. The BILL is meant to repeal title II of the REAL ID Act of 2005 and amend title II of the Homeland Security Act, 2002, to better protect the security, confidentiality, and integrity of personally identifiable information collected by states when issuing driver's licenses and identification documents, and for other purposes.

It is surprising as to why Government of India, which has been keen on emulating REAL ID Act when it was adopted in the US, has developed cold feet in following the same example when it is practically abandoned there.


In India, when one looks at the definition of the "biometrics" which "means the technologies that measure and analyse human body characteristics, such as 'fingerprints', 'eye retinas and irises', 'voice patterns', 'facial patterns', 'hand measurements' and 'DNA' for authentication purposes", as per Information Technology (Reasonable security practices and procedures and sensitive personal data or information) Rules, 2011 under section 87 read with section 43A of Information Technology Act, 2000, it becomes clear that the plan of data collection does not end with collection of finger prints and iris scan. It goes quite beyond it.

The fact remains biometric data like finger print, voice-print; iris scan and DNA do not reveal citizenship. Use of biometric technology, an advanced technique for the identification of humans, based on their characteristics or traits is unfolding. These traits can be face, fingerprint, iris, voice, signature, palm, vein, and DNA. DNA recognition and vein recognition are the latest and most advanced types of biometric authentication. Biometric technology is being deployed in the application areas like government, travel and immigration, banking and finance, and defense. Government applications cover voting, personal ID, license and building access whereas travel and immigration use biometric authentication for border access control, immigration and detection of explosives at the airports. Banking and finance sector use biometric authentication for account access and ATM security.

The International Biometric Industry Association (IBIA) has listed potential applications including voter registration, access to healthcare records, banking transactions, national identification systems and parental control. Indeed, "Biometrics are turning the human body into the universal ID card of the future". Unmindful of dangerous ramifications of such applications, if citizens and political parties concerned about civil liberties do not act quickly enough, biometric ID's are all set to be made as common as email addresses without any legal and legitimate mandate. Biometric information includes DNA profiling wherein biological traits are taken from a person because by their very nature are unique to the individual and positively identifies that person within an ever larger population as the technology improves.

In its 13 April 2013 report titled 'Regional Economic Outlook, Asia and Pacific Shifting Risks, New Foundations for Growth' as part of World Economic and Financial Surveys, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) notes that "India is planning to enhance its existing cash transfer program and identification system in connection with the ongoing subsidy reform".


Elaborating it further, the report states, how "India has also been rapidly expanding its biometric uniform identification system (Aadhaar), which will establish an accurate and paperless means of identifying all Indians by 2014. This program will also present large opportunities for savings. A nationally uniform, biometric database would cut down on leakages from outdated biographical information, ghost identification, double registration, and other losses, which have been estimated in the range of 15%–20% of total spending."

Underlining the convergence underway, it says, "The integration of these two programs, Aadhaar and direct cash transfers (DCT), promises further savings but will involve many challenges: the timeframe for bringing India's population of 1.2 billion into the UID program could extend beyond 2014, and integrating this database with information on individuals eligible for subsidised fuel will take time. Shifting the fertiliser subsidy from companies to individual farmers and building up the capacity to deliver payments electronically could also be challenging in such a large country. But the total savings could be substantial: if the combination of direct cash transfer and Aadhaar eliminates the estimated 15% leakage cited above for the programs being integrated, savings could total 0.5% of GDP in addition to the gains from the better targeting of spending on the poor."

Such claims are figments of IMF's imagination unless the total estimated budget of the UID/Aadhaar project is disclosed. It is irrational for anyone to reach inference about benefits from any project without factoring in the costs, but World Bank (WB) Group is doing it and endorsing similar acts by UIDAI.

Not surprisingly, having applauded both biometric identification and cash transfer, the WB group President Jim Yong Kim underlined the importance of the subject in his opening remarks at the Bank's Development Economics Lecture series on 24 April 2013 in Washington. Nandan Nilekani, the chairman of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and former chairman of Infosys Technologies also spoke there about the unique system for the biometric identification of Indian residents. It may be recalled that Robert B Zoellick, the then World Bank Chief met the chairman of the UIDAI on 4 December 2009. What transpired at these meetings is not in public domain.

In the aftermath of these meetings what is least talked about is that the e-identity and UID/Aadhaar-related projects are part of World Bank's e-Transform Initiative formally launched on 23 April 2010 for converging private sector, citizen sector and public sector and Interpol's e-identity database project. This, along with the then union finance minister, Pranab Mukherjee's announcement on January 2011 voluntarily seeking full-fledged Financial Sector Assessment Programme by IMF and the World Bank, merits attention of the legislatures and concerned citizens.

On April 2010, L-1 Identity Solutions Inc, which has now been purchased by biometric technology company Safran group, a French corporation signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between L-1 and the World Bank was signed as part of the launch of the initiative at a World Bank Spring Meeting event attended by many developing country ministers of finance and communications. It claimed that this collaborative relationship with the World Bank is meant to improve the way governments in developing countries deliver services to citizens as part of the launch of the World Bank eTransform Initiative (ETI).

The World Bank's ETI seeks to leverage Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to build a knowledge sharing network that helps governments of developing nations to leverage the best practices of practitioners like L-1 and others to improve the delivery of social and economic services. The knowledge sharing network will focus on areas such as electronic Identification (eID), e-Procurement, e-Health and e-Education; areas vital to promoting the participation of citizens in democratic processes, such as voting, and helping undocumented citizens get access to health and welfare programs. The World Bank is currently funding 14 projects related to e-government and e-ID around the world. Are citizens supposed to believe that the World Bank Group is working to ensure that India's national interest and its citizens' rights are protected?

"The speed and precision with which developing countries administer services is dependent upon many factors, not the least of which is the ability to verify the identities of those receiving services," said Mohsen Khalil, Director of the World Bank's Global Information and Communication Technologies Department in a statement.

Robert V. LaPenta, Chairman, President and CEO of L-1 Identity Solutions had said, "We believe that identity management solutions and services can make a significant contribution to society and undocumented citizens in developing countries, bringing them out of anonymity and helping establish their place and participation in society and affirming their rights to benefits they are entitled to receive as citizens."

It has been underlined that the "game-changing UID applications in payments, savings, and other tools for driving efficiency and transparency" using "already created one of the world's largest platforms (that is)  transforming not only authentication but also everything from government payments to financial inclusion". In effect, it is a case of biometric profiling by the IFIs who have vested interest in surveillance of financial transactions.

In his book 'Imagining India', Nilekani refers to Bank's economist, Hernando de Soto's book 'The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else' to argue that national ID system would be a big step for land markets to facilitate right to property and undoing of abolition of right to property in 1978 in order to bring down poverty! In the post-capitalist and post-socialist era, such assumptions of triumph have been found to be deeply flawed. In fact, even the title of the books sounds weird in the post-financial crisis era.

In the Parliament, on 23 April 2013, Abdul Rahman, MP asked the Union Minister of Home Affairs about the percentage of the population covered under UID (Aadhaar), National Population Register (NPR) and Voters Identity Card, so far and the areas where information provided in these UID (Aadhaar), NPR and Voters Identity Card overlap; and the steps taken to avoid overlapping of the information contained therein.  The reply was given but what it did not disclose is that the overlapping is deliberate because the real motive of the entire exercise is to ensure convergence of all pre-existing databases and the databases under creation as envisaged by the IFIs.

In his written reply, RPN Singh, Union Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs informed the Parliament, "As per the Electoral Roll data 2012, the Election Commission of India has 75.84 crore registered general electors in India.' He admitted that "the five demographic fields Name, Address, Gender, Age, Name of father/mother/guardian and the photograph are common." It is not common as it provides the route for convergence.

It does not appear to be a coincidence that France-based Ronald K Noble, Secretary General, INTERPOL, and world's largest police organisation too has called for global electronic e-ID identity card system. When Nilekani was asked about the relationship of UID/Aadhaar with the National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) in an interview by Hard News magazine, his reply was "No Comments". Isn't global electronic e-ID identity card system proposed by INTERPOL, e-Identity project of World Bank Group and UID/aadhaar related databases linked? Is "No Comments" a convincing answer?

Biometric documentation of undocumented citizens in developing countries which is underway in some 14 developing countries under ETI is aimed at bringing them out of anonymity, without any legal mandate. Such documentation of sensitive data of citizens facilitates bullying and invasiveness by the state and international financial institutions.

Identifying citizens biometrically is an exercise in empire building by 'commercial czars' and turning citizens in to serfs. Modern day Jaichands, Mir Zafars, Jeewan Lals and Mirza Ilahi Bakshis are collaborating to help empire builders to earn myopic rewards through attempts to compromise citizens' sovereignty for good.

The journey of biometric identification and numbering of Indians commenced a year after the first war of India's independence was brutally suppressed by the army of British East India Company, with the help of collaborators like Jeevan Lal, Mirza Ilahi Baksh and Rajab Ali. The first systematic capture of hand images for identification purposes "was" initiated by William Herschel, a civil servant in colonial India in 1858. It is noteworthy that in 1898, Edward Henry, inspector general of the Bengal Police established the first British fingerprint files in London.

Referring to the British victory over Indians in 1857, William Howard Russell of London Times wrote: "Our siege of Delhi would have been impossible, if the Rajas of Patiala and Jhind (Jind) had not been our friends". The seize of the database of personal sensitive biometric information of all the Indians would have been impossible but for the help of 'commercial czars' like Nilekani and the complicity of civil servants like C Chandramouli, the Census Commissioner and Registrar General of India responsible for biometric National Population Register (NPR).

Occupy Wall Street Movement has a pithy slogan: 'Empire is on the Wall Street'. The exercise of biometric identification of citizens is a comprehensive intelligence initiative with financial surveillance at its core. The personal sensitive information like biometric data that is collected in myriad disguises and through numerous tempting claims about its benefits is going to be purchased by banks and other financial institutions to be correlated with other data, and used for purposes that was neither agreed nor foreseen. This data is bound to be stolen or illegitimately released, exposing citizens to risks of profiling, tracking and grievous embarrassments as has happened in the case of Greece, Egypt, Pakistan and UK.

So far legislators and citizens have failed to bring World Bank Group and other international financial institutions under legislative oversight. A situation is emerging where if the pre-existing databases like electoral database, census and other databases which are under preparation is converged, these unaccountable and undemocratic financial institutions will never come under parliamentary scrutiny. The identification and surveillance technology providers are appear to be aiding an empire of a kind where every nano activity is under the vigilance of the Big Brother.

The flawed assumption of Government of India that the benefits of biometric systems are sufficient to warrant use of biometric technology for financial transactions is misplaced. The citizens who are succumbing to such presumption are doing so because they are not informed about potential risks. The blatant use of financial rewards akin to bribes to promote citizen's participation in biometric identification programs sets a very harmful precedent as it violates the principle of free and informed consent. Informed citizens and democratic legislatures can respond to it only through non-cooperation, civil disobedience and voting against parties which support the banker-biometric technology vendor nexus.

(Gopal Krishna is member of Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL), which is campaigning against surveillance technologies since 2010)

Biometric identification is modern day enslavement -Part II

Database State, a report from the UK revealed how the old maxim, 'If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear' has been given a very public burial. The report states, "InOctober 2007, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs lost two discs containing a copy of the entire child benefit database. Suddenly issues of privacy and data security were on the front page of most newspapers and leading the TV news bulletins. The millions of people affected by this data loss, who may have thought they had nothing to hide, were shown that they do have much to fear from the failures of the database state." Likewise, creating database containing biometrics is a giant leap towards authoritarian control by data mining companies. It turns citizens into subjects and suspected criminals, who can be kept under leash by control over sensitive data. Through convergence each data can be transformed into sensitive data.

If consent for it is granted by uninformed citizens then citizens become a number on a computer of a state actor or non–state actor engaged in 'welfare' services. This would automatically create a file on each citizen. In an effort to appear harmless, the claims are that the file would contain very little information like but as has now come to light it is being linked to 'preventing terrorism', 'stopping crime' or 'protecting children' etc. This in turn creates logic for profiling and tracking citizens based on their financial transactions, mobility, religion, caste, region, orientations, health records and driving record.

Right to privacy and freedom belong to citizens by right. It is not granted by government. A government is the servant of the citizens, not its master. Governments are supposed to seek the permission to limit these rights in certain circumstances. It signals a break-down of a democratic government if it chooses to engage in indiscriminate surveillance of citizens or to impose a system of compulsory identification or to open a file on each citizen or to criminalise citizens who refuse to comply as is proposed to be done by the Indian National Congress (Congress) led government with the connivance of the opposition parties.

When political candidates of Congress party and its allies stood up for elections and sought votes did they seek the mandate to put the voters under surveillance?  

The 'database state' is the tendency of the state and non-state actors to use computers and biometrics to manage society by putting people under watch by mouthing benevolent schemes and excuses.

Databasing people is akin to modern day enslavement by those who are wedded to the faith in property-based democracy. Slavery by whatever name is wrong on principle.


Non-state actors have prevailed on state agencies to adopt "Transformational Government" initiative. It might sound good unless one comprehends that what is being transformed is not government but it is power over citizens under the dictates of non-state actors.

This was attempted by UK's Tony Blair government, which misled the world and its own citizens about Iraq having nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programme although it knew that it was not true. Not surprisingly, the British citizens could see through the fraudulent misrepresentation and voted for the coalition of David Cameron-Nick Clegg. UK's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said, "This government will end the culture of spying on its citizens. It is outrageous that decent, law-abiding people are regularly treated as if they have something to hide. It has to stop. So there will be no ID card scheme. No national identity register, a halt to second generation biometric passports" in the British House of Commons.

Clegg added, "We won't hold your internet and email records when there is just no reason to do so. Britain must not be a country where our children grow up so used to their liberty being infringed that they accept it without question. Schools will not take children's fingerprints without even asking their parent's consent. This will be a government that is proud when British citizens stand up against illegitimate advances of the state."

But the Sonia Gandhi-led coalition government in India chooses to follow the discredited path of Tony Blair and his UK's Identity Cards Act, 2006. Both, Blair and UKID Act, have been abandoned.

Given the fact that 'radical restructuring of the security architecture at the national level' is underway, when Nandan Nilekani, the chairman of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) was asked more than two years back as to how tracking of citizens can get facilitated once different databases like National Population Register (NPR), National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID), National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS), Multi-Agency Centre (MAC), central monitoring system (CMS) , Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC), National Investigation Agency (NIA), national cyber coordination centre (NCCC), national critical information infrastructure protection centre (NCIIPC), telecom security directorate, Public Information Infrastructure and Innovations and UID are converged, you can actually track all the information. He responded saying, "I don't want to talk about that." His silence is deafening. But intelligence agencies be it UIDAI or any or any of it incarnations are known for adopting such stances.

Under NATGRID, 21 sets of databases will be networked to achieve quick, seamless and secure access to desired information for intelligence/enforcement agencies, it is quite clear that the biometric databases under creation are meant for such agencies in India and elsewhere. The Rules made under the Information Technology Act, 2000 in April 2011 provide access to any data held by any "body corporate" in India. This does not apply to body corporate of foreign origin.

In such a backdrop, there is a compelling logic for VS Sampath, the Chief Election Commissioner, to rescind the dangerous proposal of Dr SY Quraishi, his predecessor, to Union Ministry of Home Affairs asking it "to merge the Election ID cards with UID". Such an exercise would mean rewriting and engineering the electoral ecosystem with the unconstitutional and illegal use of biometric technology in a context where electoral finance has become source of corruption and black money in the country. This would lead to linking of biometric UID/Aadhaar, election ID and electronic voting machines (EVMs), which are not as innocent and as politically neutral as it has been made out to be. It is noteworthy that all EVMs have a UID number as well. This will amount to electoral surveillance.

Surveillance is a "shameful act" of supervising and imposing discipline on a subject through a hierarchy system of policing. Michel Foucault, the author of 'Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison' examined the systems of social power through the lens of the 18th century philosopher Jeremy Bentham, the originator of the now iconic Panopticon. This Panopticon was/is a design for a prison in which the inmate's cells are arranged in a circular fashion around a central guard tower. The architectural configuration allows for a single guard's gaze to view all inmates, but prevents those inmates from knowing exactly when they are being watched.

It was aptly observed, "The major effect of the Panopticon: to induce in the inmate a state of conscious and permanent visibility that assures the automatic functioning of power." This design is a "generalised model of functioning and a way of defining power relations in terms of the everyday lives of men."

In initiatives like biometric identification the subject, the citizen is seen but he/she does not see. He/she is the object of information, but never a subject in communication. Foucault's Panoptic model is quite valid for biometric database because these databases are meant to ensure real time tracking and profiling of citizens and turns them into subjects and in a slave like situation. Tumultuous colonial history of the technologies associated with surveillance reveal that the origins of surveillance happened during free trade of slaves.

Biometric identification treats Indian citizens worse than slaves. It is an act of identification prior to any act of omission and commission.  It is a case of a deepening of everyday surveillance. It is similar to what was done under the Britain's Habitual Criminals Act of 1869 required police to keep an "Alphabetical Registry" and cross-referenced "Distinctive Marks Registry. The first held names and the latter descriptions of scars, tattoos, birthmarks, balding, pockmarks, and other distinguishing features. This registry of marks was systematically disaggregated into nine general categories pertaining to regions of the body. Therefore there were files for the head and face; throat and neck; chest; belly and groin; back and loins; arms; hands and fingers; thighs and legs; feet and ankles.

The proposed convergence of biometric information with financial and personal data such as residence, employment, and medical history heralds the beginning of the demolition of one of the most important firewalls in the structure of privacy. Such convergence of databases poses a threat to minorities and political opponents as they can be targeted in a situation where government is led by any Nazi party like political formations.

Late Roger Needham, a British computer scientist aptly said, "If you think IT is the solution to your problem, then you don't understand IT, and you don't understand your problem either." It sounds like he was addressing this observation to gullible citizens, political class and the likes of Capt Raghu Raman, the CEO of NATGRID Grid, Sam Pitroda, the head of Public Information Infrastructure and Innovations, Nilekani and C Chandramouli, the Registrar General of India for National Population Register & Census Commissioner.

Safeguarding of citizens' privacy and their civil liberties in the face of an unprecedented onslaught from collection of biometric data and other related surveillance measures that are being bulldozed by unregulated and ungovernable technology companies by overawing the Governments through its marketing blitzkrieg is emerging as fight between the David and the Goliath. Database State cannot be the aim of any democratically healthy government. It is an exercise in outsourcing of government through technologies that govern individuals to admittedly undemocratic entities wherein biometric identification is being made a pre-condition for citizens to have any rights.

In effect, right to have rights is all set to be made dependent on being biometrically profiled and not on constitutional guarantees and Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This is a regressive step that takes citizens to pre-Magna Carta days (1215 AD) or even earlier to the days prior to the declaration of Cyrus, the Persian King (539 BC) that willed freedom for slaves. Should it not be resisted?  

You may also want to read…

Why biometric identification of citizens must be resisted? Part I

(Gopal Krishna is member of Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL), which is campaigning against surveillance technologies since 2010)

Biometric profiling, including DNA, is dehumanising -Part III

The dangers of trusting identification technologies for determining social policies is bound to be consequential in a situation where "[A] warrant requirement will not make muchdifference to a society that, under the sway of a naive and discredited theory of genetic determinism, is willing to lock people away on the basis of their genes."

The 21st century ideology of genetic determinism is being promoted through biometric identification. Such identification includes DNA profiling. DNA profiling is 'undesirable particularly as forensic DNA developments are intertwined with significant changes in legislation and contentious issues of privacy, civil liberty and social justice.' The argument which is often mouthed in defence of biometric National Population Register (NPR) and unique identification (UID)/Aadhaar number is that it is meant for social security akin to social security number in the US, which incidentally is not based on biometric data. This must be seen along with a similar argument being advanced for a DNA profile. They say such profiling is required because it "is very much like a social security number—though it is longer and is assigned by chance, not by the federal government". Clearly, the ramifications of automatic profiling, tracking and surveillance is unfolding and trapping unsuspecting citizens in its ambit.


The 58-page Draft Human DNA Profiling Bill, 2012 which is the revised version of the 35-page DNA Profiling Act, 2007 appears linked to the emergence of a surveillance and database state using Union Home Ministry's biometric NPR, National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID), National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), Union Surface Transport Ministry's Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), Union Finance Ministry's National Information Utility, Planning Commission's Unique Identification /Aadhaar, Union Rural Development Ministry's Land Titling Bill, World Bank's e-Transform Initiative, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)'s identification policy and Sam Pitroda's Public Information Infrastructure and Innovations etc.

Having initiated collection of biometric data like fingerprints and iris scan for NPR and UID number, the Draft Human DNA Profiling Bill takes the next step and provides for procurement of "intimate body sample" which means a sample of blood, semen or any other tissue, fluid, urine, or pubic hair, a dental impression; or a swab taken from a person's body orifice other than mouth obtained through "intimate forensic procedure".

A paper 'Prelude to a Miss: A Cautionary Note against Expanding DNA Databanks in the Face of Scientific Uncertainty' by Jennifer Sue Deck wherein a text of Office of Technology Assessment, US Congress, 'Genetic Witness: Forensic Uses of DNA Tests' reads: "DNA fingerprinting is all but foolproof, but some fool is going to use it". This is apt about all kinds of biometric identification.


Profiling based on Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid (DNA) is aimed at examination of human biological material acquired through intimate forensic procedure. This biological material is coded with "the past history and thus dictate the future of an individual's racial and genealogical makeup, and influence an individual's medical and psychological makeup."

The intimate forensic procedure means the following forensic procedures, namely:-

(a)An external examination of the genital or anal area, the buttocks and also breasts in the case of a female breast;

(b) Taking of a sample of blood;

(c) Taking of a sample of pubic hair;

(d) Taking of a sample by swab or washing from the external genital or anal area, the buttocks and also breasts in the case of a female;

(e) Taking of a sample by vacuum suction, by scraping or by lifting by tape from the external genital or anal area, the buttocks and also breasts in the case of a female;

(f) Taking of a dental impression;

(g) Taking of a photograph or video recording of, or an impression or cast of a wound from, the genital or anal area, the buttocks and also breasts in  the case of a female.

DNA Profiling is aimed at regulating the use of DNA analysis of body substance profiles and making provision for establishment of DNA Profiling Board consisting of eminent scientists, administrators and law enforcement officers to lay down standards for laboratories, collection of body substances, custody trail from collection to reporting and establishment of a databank and to create policies for use and access to information from such data bank, appointment of a DNA Databank Manager to supervise, execute and maintain the databank and for matters connected therewith.

A decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) about violation of the right to privacy and family life by DNA profile retention in criminal justice databanks is relevant here. The case was heard publicly on 27 February 2008, and the unanimous decision of 17 judges was delivered on 4 December 2008. The court found that the "blanket and indiscriminate nature" of the power of retention of the fingerprints, cellular samples, and DNA profiles of persons suspected but not convicted of offenses, failed to strike a fair balance between competing public and private interests and ruled that the United Kingdom had "overstepped any acceptable margin of appreciation" in this regard. This was before David Cameron became the Prime Minister in May 2011 defeating Tony Blair's Labour Party which had introduced identity card legislation and compulsory DNA recording.

The technique of DNA profiling was pioneered in the UK and it was the first nation to establish a criminal justice DNA databank. The decision is non-appealable. Unmindful of this, in India National DNA databank is being proposed.

Once the DNA databank is in place the enlargement of scope for its new predictive uses cannot be ruled out given scientific advancements underway. In such a situation a readymade DNA based inferences adversely impacts impartiality of the criminal justice system and other systems become questionable. Contrary to the existing legal provisions under Census Act and Citizenship Act, the Bill states that the DNA data will also be used for the "creation and maintenance" of population statistics that can be used for "identification, research, protocol development or quality control".

The Bill once it becomes a law will grant the authority to collect vast amount of sensitive DNA data of citizens merely on the ground of suspicion in a criminal case. The data will be held till the person is cleared by court. Under the Identification of Prisoner Act, there is a reference of collection of sensitive biometric data like fingerprints wherein biometric data of prisoners can be collected that too with the permission of a Magistrate but on acquittal the biometric data is required to be destroyed. The Draft Human DNA Profiling Bill is far more regressive than the colonial law. The provision of collection of citizens DNA data in the Draft Bill for DNA Database in effect treats the citizens worse than prisoners.


The preamble to the Bill admits that "DNA analysis offers sensitive information which, if misused, can cause harm to a person or society". It proposes the creation of a National DNA Data Bank which will be headed by an officer in the rank of a Joint Secretary to the Government of India. There is a section in the Bill that allows for "volunteers" to give their DNA profiles. It is quite strange that "volunteers" are expected to share their sensitive data with the government. It is noteworthy that Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) too had initially claimed that enrolment based on biometric data is voluntary. Subsequent events and official documents reveal that it is explicitly mandatory by implication.

The DNA Data Bank like other databases like Centralized Identity Data Register (CIDR) of UID/Aadhaar and NPR are saleable commodities but the Bill provides for the imprisonment of a few months or a fine of Rs50,000 for "misuse" of the DNA profiles. The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Union Ministry of Science and Technology have circulated this Bill to other ministries for their inputs.

In all likelihood DNA Data Bank, CIDR, NPR and criminal database will get converged in furtherance of World Bank's e-Transform Initiative unfolding in partnership with six transnational companies namely, Gemalto, IBM, L-1 Identity Solutions, Microsoft and Pfizer and two national governments of France and South Korea. Such convergence poses a threat to minorities and political opponents whose targeting is imminent.

It may be noted that US Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act (GINA), 2008 prohibits US insurance companies and employers from discriminating on the basis of information derived from genetic tests. The necessity of such law underlines that genetic information like DNA facilitates discrimination.

Manifesto of biometric identification promoters will read like the 1,500 page regressive manifesto titled "2083: A European Declaration of Independence" brought out by Norwegian gunman and neo-Crusader, Anders Behring Breivik who carried out the heinous attacks on his fellow citizens. It refers to the word "identity" over 100 times, "unique" over 40 times and "identification" over 10 times. There is reference to "state-issued identity cards", "converts' identity cards", "identification card", "fingerprints", "DNA" etc as well in this manifesto.

These words and their imports merit attention in order to safeguard human rights of present and future generation of citizens which faces an unprecedented onslaught from the provisions of DNA Profiling Bill and other related surveillance measures being bulldozed by unregulated and ungovernable technology. Biometric profiling of any sort is dehumanising.

You may also want to read…

Why biometric identification of citizens must be resisted? Part I

Biometric identification is modern day enslavement -Part II

(Gopal Krishna is member of Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL), which is campaigning against surveillance technologies since 2010)

UID's promise of service delivery to poor hides IT, biometrics industry profits -PartVI

In our country, it is rarely noticed as to when the concept of massively organised information quietly emerges to become a means of social control, a weapon of war, and for the victimisation of ethnic groups. Aadhaar is trying hard to make us believe that the UIDAI would fulfil the constitutional promise of economic equality

"If everyone is thinking alike, someone isn't thinking" said George Patton, US General during World War II.

Indeed, "unfair share of highly educated people" in certain mega business enterprises, countries and automatic identification technologies based on digitalization of human biology is having a disruptive impact on human civilization and democratic rights.

After the adoption of National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy (NDSAP), a Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by AK Antony, defence minister, is deliberating on the issue of resident identity cards to all usual residents of the country of age 18 years and above under the scheme of National Population Register (NPR). As per the terms of referencegiven to the GoM, it is supposed to "examine all aspects relating to the proposal for issuing resident identity cards to the usual residents of the country keeping in view all relevant issues and finalize its recommendations at an early date." There is no news about what this GoM has done since its creation January 2013. It seems they are waiting for the judgement of the Supreme Court given the fact that Aadhaar/Unique Identification (UID) Number and NPR are one and the same as per the documents on record.

The creation of this GoM must be seen along with a letter of Ajit Seth, cabinet secretary, Government of India dated 18 July 2012, which was sent to all secretaries stating that "There is an urgent need to bring rich data assets into the public domain for the use by civil society for scientific, economic and developmental purposes."

In an interview, Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks informed Imran Khan about the grave act of omission and commission. Assange said, "…we discovered a cable in 2009 from the Islamabad Embassy. Prime minister Gilani and interior minister Malik went into the (US) embassy and offered to share National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) – and NADRA is the national data and registration agency database. The system is currently connected through passport data but the government of Pakistan is adding voice and facial recognition capability and has installed a pilot biometric system as the Chennai border crossing, where 30,000 to 35,000 people cross each day. This NADRA system is the voting record system for all voters in Pakistan. A front company was set up in the United Kingdom – International Identity Services, which was hired as the consultants for NADRA to squirrel out the NADRA data for all of Pakistan. What do you think about that? Is that a…? It seems to me that that is a theft of some national treasure of Pakistan, the entire Pakistani database registry of its people." The interview is available here.

It must be noted that NPR is being prepared by C Chandramouli, census commissioner & registrar general of India, is meant to create resident identity cards is exactly like Pakistan's version of biometric exercise for citizens' identity card which was completed by NADRA, ministry of interior, Government of Pakistan and their database has been handed over to US Government.

Was NADRA made accountable for this theft of national treasure of Pakistan? Will census commissioner & registrar general of India be made accountable if "rich data assets" are stolen or sold? Has anyone been made accountable till date?

In an interview James Manyika, a director in McKinsey's San Francisco office, and Eric Schmidt, Google executive chairman explored the phenomenon of technological disruption, which is likely to have the greatest impact on economies, business models, and people. This interview was conducted in February 2013.

Eric corroborates what has been apprehended all along that "There are now firms and foundations building databases of DNA to use, to move to a model of individual diagnosis of disease, where you literally just press a button, the sequences occur, and it tells you what's wrong. So the use of analytical tools in a historically analog world is a very big change."

He prophetically states that we are entering into a situation where the computer knows, "Well, we kind of know what you care about."

Eric Schmidt says, "We're going, in a single lifetime, from a small elite having access to information to essentially everyone in the world having access to all of the world's information. That has huge implications for privacy, communications, security, the way people behave, the way information is spread, censorship, how governments behave, and so forth."

Eric underlines the existing situation of "a small elite having access to information". He is making a prophesy that we are amidst a technological era, which is going to create a situation wherein "essentially everyone in the world having access to all of the world's information."  This prophesy hides an essential pre-condition to the possible access to "all of the world's information". The pre-condition is purchasing capacity.  

To reveal the true colours of such sophistry, paraphrasing George Orwell's contention from his book, Animal Farm, in this context would not be inappropriate. All men did not have access to all the information in the past.  But all men will soon have access to all the information if they can afford it. Essentially, all men are equal in the digital world if they can afford equality.

In the second part of his statement, the Google official is telling the official from McKinsey that when all the people in the world will have all the information then it have "implications for privacy, communications, security, the way people behave, the way information is spread, censorship, how governments behave, and so forth".

Even if one takes this part of his statement on its face value, the core issue is that whenever either "a small elite" has access to information or all the people who can afford to have access to information there are implications for privacy, communications, security, human behaviour, information dissemination, censorship and governments.

Eric will have us believe that when the analog world of biology—how genes work, how diseases work is put in a digital framework, calculate for a while, do some machine learning on how things happen, these seemingly disruptive technologies will be able to make one become a better human being and predict what's going to happen to human beings in terms of health etc.

While States and citizens are concerned about their rights and are resisting efforts to turn them into subjects of centralised powers through their opposition to National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), the emergence of a regressive convergence economy based on databases and unregulated surveillance, biometric and electoral technologies remains largely unnoticed and unchallenged. Political clout of technology based companies seems to be creating a property based rights regime through financial surveillance making national boundaries redundant. But surprisingly, non Congress governments in states and at the centre are acting like unthinking obedient boys.

If one takes cognizance of the claim that "UID system is a civilian application of biometrics"1 and compares it with current practices, one finds that such a claim is quite misplaced. In the report there is reference to a Study commissioned by the US Department of Homeland Security to International Biometrics Group.2 Is it too difficult to comprehend the implications of the "civilian application" of a military tool?

In our country, it is rarely noticed as to when the concept of massively organized information quietly emerged to become a means of social control, a weapon of war, and for the victimisation of ethnic groups.


It has emerged that it all started rolling in the aftermath of a meeting of the Empowered Group of Ministers on 4 November 2008 and a meeting of the prime minister's council of the UID Authority on 12 August 2009, wherein it was decided that there was a "need for a legislative framework." The legislative framework is unlikely to take birth but the citizens have been framed and biometrically profiled awaiting post dated endorsement from the legislatures.

The 13th Finance Commission has made a provision for an incentive of Rs100 per person (Rs400-Rs500 per family) to bribe citizens below the poverty line to register for the UID/Aadhaar and recommended a grant of Rs2,989.10 crore to be given to the state governments for the same. The deafening silence of the state governments appears to be influenced by this financial allocation.

As per an office memorandum dated 29 September 2009, "The main objective is to improve benefits service delivery, especially to the poor and the marginalized sections of the society. To deliver its mandate, the UID Authority proposes to create a platform to first collect the identity details and then to perform authentication that can be used by several government and private service providers."3

The reference to "private service providers" is inexplicable for the work is meant to be an exercise for public purpose and for the poor and the marginalized. The promise of service delivery to the poor and the marginalised hides how it will enable access to profit for the IT industry and the biometrics industry. Such claims are quite insincere, misleading and factually incorrect. It reminds one of the pledges in the preamble of the Constitution of India; it will have us believe that UID Authority would fulfil the constitutional promise of economic equality. Such objectives are bad sophistry at best.

"Biometrics data are national assets and must be preserved in their original quality."4 It is noteworthy that the cabinet secretary refers to "rich data assets" and government's committee on Biometrics refers to database of citizens' biometric data as "national assets."

1 Biometrics Design Standards For UID Applications, Planning Commission, prepared by: Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) Committee on Biometrics, p. 9, Version 1.0, December 2009

2 Study titled "Independent Testing of Iris Recognition Technology, Final Report, May 2005" referred in the report of the Biometrics Design Standards For UID Applications, Planning Commission, prepared by: Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) Committee on Biometrics, p. 56, Version 1.0, December 2009

3 Biometrics Design Standards For UID Applications, Planning Commission, prepared by: Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) Committee on Biometrics, p. 25, Version 1.0, December 2009

4 Biometrics Design Standards For UID Applications, Planning Commission, prepared by: Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) Committee on Biometrics, p. 5, Version 1.0, December 2009

You may also want to read…

Why biometric identification of citizens must be resisted? Part I

Biometric identification is modern day enslavement -Part II

Biometric profiling, including DNA, is dehumanising -Part III

Marketing and advertising blitzkrieg of biometric techies and supporters -Part IV

History of technologies reveals it is their owners who are true beneficiaries -Part V

(Gopal Krishna is member of Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL), which is campaigning against surveillance technologies since 2010)

History of technologies reveals it is their owners who are truebeneficiaries -Part V

Before joining Indian National Congress (INC), Mahatma Gandhi had opposed biometric identification—fingerprint based registration of Asians in general and Indians and Chinese in particular. In his book, 'Satyagraha in South Africa', he describes Asiatic Law Amendment Ordinance of 1906 and the Transvaal Asiatic Registration Act under which finger printing of Asians was attempted as a "Black Act". The Black Act was resisted on the grounds of the safety of Indian and Chinese community of South Africa and to resist an intolerable humiliation. The Act was repealed by the British government after years of struggle.

Do political parties in India endorse Mahatma Gandhi's first Satyagraha in opposition to British Asiatic Law Amendment Ordinance of 1906 and Transvaal Asiatic Registration Act of 1907? Under the Act, every male Asian had to register himself and produce on demand a thumb-printed certificate of identity. Unregistered persons and prohibited immigrants were to be deported without a right of appeal or fined on the spot if they fail to comply with Act.

If the parties endorse this political struggle of the Mahatma then how is it that they are complicit in endorsement of the notification of Planning Commission akin to anordinance meant for biometric identification? There is a logical compulsion for them to seek the withdrawal of this notification dated 28 January 2009 and to oppose even the introduction of The National Identification Authority of India Bill re-approved by the Union Cabinet on 8 October 2013 in the upcoming winter session of the Parliament in the light of the wisdom gained from the freedom fighters.

On 22 August 1906, the South African government published a draft Asiatic Law Amendment Ordinance. The Ordinance required all Indians and Chinese in the Transvaal region of South Africa, to register their presence giving their fingerprints and carrying passes. Knowing the impact of the Ordinance and effective criminalisation of the entire community, Gandhi then decided to challenge it. Calling the Ordinance a 'Black Act', he mobilised around 3,000 Indians in Johannesburg who took an oath not to submit to a degrading and discriminatory piece of legislation. This was the first time the world witnessed 'Satyagraha' or a non-resistance movement that later become a phenomenon in India's freedom struggle.

By this yardstick, no political party In India qualifies to be deemed an opposition party unless they burn, boycott or bury the scheme that issues biometric identification slips carrying unique identification (UID)/Aadhaar number.

It appears that the Chinese have remembered their historical lessons not only from their subjugation through opium wars but also how as community of shared fate they had opposed finger printing together with Indians in South Africa. Dr M Vijayanunni, former Census Commissioner and Registrar General of India underlined other reasons for China giving up a similar exercise on Rajya Sabha TV on 2 February 2013. Indians, on the other hand, appear to be forgetting lessons of their consistent defeats (in the battle fields and off the battle fields).

Among the defeats, the date of 23 June 1757 stands out. In his book, Imagining India, Nandan Nilekani provides 'A Time Line of Key Events' in India. Under the title 'Seeds', the first date he mentions is 1757. He describes the event of the year saying, "The Battle of Plassey, where (colonel) Robert Clive, commander of the (English) East India Company's army and renegade (he would later be tried in Britain fort looting Bengal treasury) overthrows the Nawab of Bengal (Siraj-ud-daulah, the last independent Nawab of Bengal). It is a battle won through both money—bribing the Nawab's loyalists—and the military."

It seems that acting like a modern day Clive, he has managed to somehow take the Nawabof INC and his loyalists into confidence. The battle of 2014 elections is likely to decide whether Clive and his loyalists will win once again or not.

By 1750, the Indian empire was in a state of collapse as a result of a permission given by Indian emperor Jahangir to an ambassador of English emperor King James for setting up of a base by English East India Company in Surat, Gujarat in 1615. By 1690, this company had factories all along the west and east coasts of India with the main centres at Chennai (erstwhile Madras), Kokata (ersthwhile Calcutta) and Mumbai (erstwhile Bombay). The company started to protect its trade with its own armies and navies.

History repeats itself in simple ways. Capt Raghu Raman, the chief executive officer (CEO) of National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID), the Union Ministry of Home Affairs had proposed creation of private territorial armies by commercial czars in his earlier incarnation with Mahindra Special Services Group. But the State seems to have gone ahead and has started providing Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), the world's biggest industrial security force, to commercial czars on rent. At this rate how long will it take for the commercial czars to hire Indian Army, Navy and Air Force? In any case, they are hiring them post retirement or poaching them in their pre-retirement phase itself. Unless the political and the informed citizenry is alive to the writing the writing on the wallits ramifications are bound to unfold and make their democratic rights redundant.

In an interview on 24 January 2012, NDTV's Sreenivasan Jain asked Nilekani about the patronage his biometric identification project enjoys from Rahul Gandhi. He asked, "And it helps to have Rahul Gandhi's backing?" Nilekani replied, "Yes definitely it helps, and we think the promise of this is being seen; that this can transform services to the people."

Nilekani said, "Of course they are uncharted waters. The world's largest biometric database is of 120 million. We are talking about 1.2 billion. So that's 10 times anything else in the world. We are the only project that's doing on that scale using fusion biometrics, because we combine iris and fingerprints."

It is the Indian citizens who are the master of the elected people that are being taken into "uncharted waters" by an unelected person. Unlike our indirectly elected prime minister, this person is not even indirectly elected.   

Sreenivasan Jain asked, "But overall you feel that this project still has legs?" Nilekani replied, "Of course it has legs. 170 million have voted with their feet." Indeed UID-Aadhaar and related schemes are meant to engineer the electoral system for good.

But this boastful claim was made before the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh (UP). The election to the UP legislative assembly was held in seven phases from 8th February to 3 March  2012. Through their verdict the electorate of Uttar Pradesh rejected the proposal of the INC to allow themselves to be identified with their biometric data like iris scan and thumb impressions. Rahul Gandhi had campaigned in UP using the UID/Aadhaar as an election agenda. After his party's dismal performance, he took the responsibility of his party's defeat.

The UP legislative assembly has 403 seats. Samajwadi Party (SP) won 224 seats and INC won 28 seats. Eight of the 10 assembly seats in the parliamentary constituencies represented by Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi, respectively, were won by the Samajwadi Party. Nilekani's party did not just lose 17 of the 20 segments in these four parliamentary seats which it holds, it did not even come second in 13 of these assembly segments.

Supporting Home Ministry's and Planning Commission's scheme of unique identity, the INC had showcased UID/Aadhaar and related National Population Register (NPR) to influence the electorate but voters have given their verdict against these schemes. Nilekani's party had claimed that the UID-Aadhaar/NPR will address the discrepancies in controversial below poverty line (BPL) list by hiding violation of the provisions of Census Act with ulterior motives. It was used like a fish bait to entrap citizens against democratic and legislative mandate. The message for Rahul Gandhi, P Chidambaram, Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Nilekani was that UP electorate who were promised UID-Aadhaar/NPR has rejected it.

The surveillance regime based on UID-Aadhaar/NPR has been proposed by INC for the people but not for biometric and other intrusive technologies. It has reliably been learnt that officials from Infosys Ltd have been giving leadership training to leaders of INC. This may have impacted decision making with regard to UID-Aadhaar/NPR but it has clearly not worked in UP elections.

Reports of efforts to put even finance minister and defence minister under surveillance reveal that there is paucity of capacity to monitor or regulate these technologies within the government. If this is the plight of the ministers and technologically challenged political class, the threat for citizens can easily be understood.

Post UP elections, government must review its capacity to regulate an emerging technology regime that is undermining democracy and sovereignty and should not be misled by unelected cabinet ranked officials who say, "Technology has no history and no bias, it treats everyone the same way." History of technologies reveals that it is their owners who are true beneficiaries especially when it is used for social control. There is a compelling need to urgently assess the claims and risks of biometric and surveillance technology and how some companies made UID/NPR politically persuasive for the ruling party and intertwined the systems of technology with crying need for governance.

Samajwadi Party won the battle in UP but they are bound to lose the war unless they scrap and disassociate themselves from UID/NPR scheme. Imagine a situation, when one agency is not letting the party play its legitimate role as an opposition party in the national politics, what would be their plight, when they are likely to be blackmailed by several surveillance companies and non-state actors.

As an electoral lesson, Rahul Gandhi should have stopped his support for UID/Aadhaar project because the verdict was against it. Is it the case that the biometric databases of Indians have already been sold in the futures market and the powers that be have got their shares in the booty which makes it 'irreversible' as is being claimed, despite electoral reverses? How it is that Akhilesh Yadav, Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi are busy implementing UID-Aadhaar number scheme?

Two advertisements of Union Ministry of Home Affairs dated 24 August 2013 and 14 August 2013 in Hindustan Times and Hindustan, respectively merits attention. It signals a very dangerous trend for democratic rights and sovereignty of citizens. The former deals with biometric collection of usual residents of India for which camps are being organized, the latter dealt with Socio Economic & Caste Census (SECC) 2011 wherein it was announced that unless the usual residents covered under SECC sent a letter in a given format requesting for non-disclosure of the information collected from them within 15 days of the publication of the advertisement, their information would be made public. The latter is in violation of the Census Act, 1948 under which Census of India functions and the former is in violation of the Citizenship Act, 1955. SECC application format also reveals that there is something called family identification number which has been created. It merits examination whether it is legal.

According to the manual of instructions for filling up of the National Population Register (NPR) Household Schedule, 2011 prepared by the Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner (ORG&CCI), Union Ministry of Home Affairs, the objectives of NPR involves "Collection of personal details of all residents of the country and capture of photograph and finger prints of all residents who are of age 15 years and above in villages/urban areas." The data collection for preparation of NPR was undertaken along with the house listing operations of Census 2011. The manual categorically states that "NPR will contain the details of all the 'usual residents' of the country regardless of whether they are citizens or non-citizens." If that is the case, how can it qualify to be an act under the Citizenship Act and Rules given the fact that the register will have both citizens and non-citizens?

As per the manual, NPR's utility lies in creation of "a comprehensive identity database in the country. This would not only strengthen security of the country but also help in better targeting of the benefits and services under the government schemes/ programmes and improve planning." It further states, "It may be noted that nationality declared by respondent does not confer any right to Indian citizenship". In such a case isn't census itself quite sufficient for it?

In fact, Census Commissioner is supposed to gather the data of population under the Census Act, 1948 on the pre-condition that it would be kept secret and it will not be revealed even to the courts.

Unlike the data collected under Census Act which is confidential as per Section 15 of the Act, the provisions of the Citizenship Act and the citizenship or nationality rules that provides the basis for creation of the register of citizens do not provide for confidentiality.The fact is that there is no mention of capturing biometrics in the Citizenship Act or Citizenship Rules. It is clear that the collection of biometrics is not a statutory requirement. This is not permissible under also Collection of Statistics Act. But both Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and the Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India (ORG&CCI), which are creating the NPR are collecting biometric data as well. It is not a question of duplication alone; it is a question of treating citizens worse than prisoners.

Providing for a dignified treatment of the citizens of India, section 15 of the Census Act establishes that "Records of census are not open to inspection or admissible in evidence". It reads: "No person shall have a right to inspect any book, register or record made by a census-officer in the discharge of his duty as such, or any schedule delivered under section 10 and notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, no entry in any such book, register, record or schedule shall be admissible as evidence in any civil proceeding whatsoever or in any criminal proceeding other than a prosecution under this Act or any other law for any act or omission which constitutes an offence under this Act."

Union Home Ministry and UIDAI are undermining the dignity of the citizens by according them a status inferior to that of prisoners.

As per ORG&CCI, NPR process include collection of details including biometrics such as photograph, ten fingerprints and iris information for all persons aged 15 years and above. This is be done by arranging camps at every village and at the ward level in every town. Each household is required to bring the acknowledgement slip to such camps. In the next step, data is printed out and displayed at prominent places within the village and ward for the public to see. After authentication, the lists are sent to the UIDAI for de-duplication and issue of UID Numbers. The cleaned database along with the UID Number will then be sent back to the ORG&CCI and form the NPR.

It is evident that ORG&CCI has amalgamated its two independent mandates using two forms for each household in India. The first form relates to the house listing and housing census that has 35 questions relating to building material, use of houses, drinking water, availability and type of latrines, electricity, possession of assets etc. The second form relates to the NPR that has 14 questions including name of the person, gender, date of birth, place of birth, marital status, name of father, name of mother, name of spouse, present address, duration of stay at present address, permanent address, occupation, nationality as declared, educational qualification and relationship to head of family. There are 10 columns in the Aadaar/ UID enrolment form.

ORG&CCI admits that "all information collected under the Census is confidential and will not be shared with any agency—government or private." But it reveals that "certain information collected under the NPR will be published in the local areas for public scrutiny and invitation of objections. This is in the nature of the electoral roll or the telephone directory. After the NPR has been finalised, the database will be used only within the government." While dual work of census and NPR has blurred the line between confidential and non-confidential, UIDAI has gone ahead to seek consent for "sharing information provided…to the UIDAI with agencies engaged in delivery of welfare services" as per column 9 of the UID/Aadhaar enrolment form.

The way census bodies are linking biometric information with identification of citizens it is apparent that a permanent emergency-like architecture is unfolding. The electoral database is also sought to be converged. The idea is to make citizens transparent before the all mighty government so that government, their servant can remain opaque to safeguard the interests of undemocratic and ungovernable social control technology companies.

In such a backdrop, the key questions facing Indians of all ilks are:

What would Government of India and Parliament of India do when cyber and biometric invasion into the privacy of Indians happens by foreign entities?

What will citizens, legislators and political parties do when they have sufficient evidence to infer that Government of India is colluding with cyber and biometric invasion into the privacy of Indians happens by foreign entities?

Did the citizens' database that was handed over by Hosni Mubarak regime to the Government of USA prior to its fall facilitate the overthrow of Morsi regime in the recent coup by the military in Egypt and the repression of Egyptians there after?

UP verdict of March 2013 is a mandate against assault on democratic rights and diluting federal structure of the country. It is against turning India into a market democracy where executive and legislative decisions are driven by profit mongers not by public interest. Will the verdict of 2014 general elections be any different?

You may also want to read…

Why biometric identification of citizens must be resisted? Part I

Biometric identification is modern day enslavement -Part II

Biometric profiling, including DNA, is dehumanising -Part III

Marketing and advertising blitzkrieg of biometric techies and supporters -Part IV

(Gopal Krishna is member of Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL), which is campaigning against surveillance technologies since 2010)

Surabhi Agarwal  

October 2, 2013 Last Updated at 20:42 IST

The UID Crisis: Don't waste it

The next catastrophe to hit UID will be on breach of privacy, which will happen sooner than later

Tech czar and soon to be politician Nandan Nilekani joined Twitterlast week and already has some 650 plus followers. The man shunned all forms of social media during the last four years as the chief of the unique identify (UID) or Aadhaar project. So this sudden change in strategy is being considered as symbolic of his future avataar. There aren't many people who doubt Nilekani's intentions to contest elections, anyway.  

At UID Authority of India (UIDAI) headquarters, officials were just coming to terms with the possibility of a Nilekani-less UID project when the Supreme Court dropped a bomb by directing government to not mandate it for availing citizen services. Interestingly, the order last week coincided with UID's third anniversary of rolling out the first UID number in Tembhli district of Maharashtra in the last week of September 2010.

Without doubt, the government has been jolted out of its momentum by the Court order. From working on a break-neck speed to meet deadlines under the direct benefits transfer (DBT) initiative, user departments are not even sure if the mandatory linkage with UID is legal anymore. Nilekani's team has got into the rescue mode, already. The UID Bill being pushed for a fast clearance and the petition for a review of the Supreme Court's order is being readied.

But, it is not the first time when the UID headquarters are dealing with a major crisis. In its four year existence, the several wings in the Jeevan Bharti Building in Central Delhi have become used to courting controversies. But, the charade should stop now. The Centre should take this current crisis as an opportunity to put paid to all ideological, structural and legal issues against the UID project for once and all.

Here are a few questions to mull over.

Question 1: UID is a voluntary scheme and doesn't give proof of citizenship as it is meant for all Indian residents. The national population register (NPR) which is being created under the home ministry is also for all residents and not just for citizens. It also uses the UID technology as the backend but unlike UID it is mandatory and legal. Why?

The government needs to come clean on the intention behind both the schemes. It should either divide their roles coherently or merge them into one. This way it will save itself considerable trouble post the Supreme Court order. The NPR -- since it is mandatory and legal -- can be the front end for the direct benefits transfer scheme and since it is linked to the unique identity or Aadhaar number at the core, the databases can be de-duplicated and the money can be easily transferred just like the way it was being done when linked through UID.  

Question 2: Why does somebody who is on a deathbed needs a UID number to write a will or is the person who has registered his/her marraige using the number more married than the one who has registered it without the number?

Yes, one could argue that the potential benefits of linking all government services through a unique number are enormous. But, in the short-term, the government should realise that the infrastructure of Aadhaar is limited currently and it is trying to overhaul the century old governance mechanism of the country in a jiffy. So states like Delhi government which have mandated the Aadhaar number for availing the smallest of public utility services should give up on a few brownie points that they could earn with the party high-command and think about the hassle they are causing the general public, especially when the polls are just about the corner.

Instead, the Centre needs to get its thinking heads together and draw up a list of services which should be linked to the UID number in order of priority. Better to target the technology on welfare schemes with a high percentage of leakage than wasting crucial resources on something like marriage registration in the beginning. The positive press in derived from a large scale benefits will outstrip the negative reactions caused by a few disruptions here and there. Yes, LPG is one such scheme which will benefit hugely from UID linkage but who stands to gain the most from the savings-- the government and not the citizen right now. So, the centre needs a strong test case which will give directly benefit the citizens in a profound and measurable way. The public distribution system, anyone?

Question 3: Even if the government passes the UID Bill in the next session of the Parliament, who takes care of the privacy issues? Isn't my data with UID being referred to by various government agencies for verification and service delivery? What if they create a profile based on my transactions or some user agencies misuses my data?

The UID Bill takes care of the penalties and contingencies in case of any misappropriation with regard to resident data only if it takes place within UID. However, to make sure that other government agencies which are linking to UID are also taking the necessary precautions to protect the sensitive data, a privacy Bill was contemplated. It has been almost three years that the Bill has been mooted. It has been drawn and redrawn several times since, but the Bill looks nowhere near completion yet. So, the government needs to fast track the privacy bill and ensure that it is passed within a year or so. Otherwise, the next catastrophe to hit UID and the government will be on issue of breach of privacy, which will happen sooner than later, you can take it from me.

Failed Number

The HinduThe Supreme Court's order that no person should suffer for not getting the Aadhaar card has put the future of the Unique Identification programme in question.

The Sunday Story The Supreme Court's Interim order defining Aadhaar from subsidies has left the Centre grappling with the future of the Unique Identification programme. It must now provide a clear roadmap to citizens and address their genuine concerns.

Unique, universal, ubiquitous: three words that Mr Nandan Nilekani used to describe the ambitions of the UID project. Every person across the population of over 1.2 billion was to be uniquely identified. Every person was to be enrolled. The number was to be 'seeded' in every data base, and the system re-engineered, making the UID number indispensable to every individual and every system. The UID project is based on these ambitions.

Biometrics was the UIDAI's route to uniqueness. Except that very little, or nothing, was known about biometrics when the project started. How much did the UIDAI know about the efficacy of biometrics when it made its decision to capture fingerprints and iris scans, and to use biometrics to 'de-duplicate' the whole population? In a 'notice' inviting a biometrics consultant, the UIDAI was saying, in January-February 2010: "there is a lack of a sound study that documents the accuracy achievable on Indian demographics (that is, larger percentage of rural population) and in Indian environmental conditions (that is, extremely hot and humid climates and facilities without air-conditioning). In fact, we do not have any credible study assessing the achievable accuracy in any of the developing countries.... The 'quality' assessment of fingerprint data (in the UIDAI's 'preliminary assessment') is not sufficient to fully understand the achievable de-duplication accuracy." Yet, the decision had already been made, that the fingerprints and iris scan of the entire population be stored on the UIDAI database. Later reports on enrolment, and fingerprint and iris authentication, revealed deep flaws in the system, and escalating costs; but no one seems to have been paying attention to the emerging evidence.

No responsibility

The UID project has been weak on respect for the law. Despite the potential for surveillance, tracking, tagging, profiling and even exclusion that the project holds – say, migrant workers develop calluses in their hands that makes matching their fingerprint to that on the UID database a hard task – there has been no law protecting the rights of people, or detailing the liability of agencies that handle personal data. Through the years since the project was launched, there has only been the executive notification by which the UIDAI was set up in January 2009; which, among other things, says that the UIDAI would 'own' the data. It was December 2010 when, bowing to pressure from civil society activists, a law was tabled in the Rajya Sabha, which was then referred to the Standing Committee. In December 2011, the Standing Committee delivered a scathing report which asked that the project, and the law, be taken back to the drawing board; there were too many problems with both.

In response, the government did nothing; the report passed by them like an idle wind, which Shakespeare had taught them to respect not. From then, until now, the law is non-existent. This has allowed the UIDAI to expand the fields of data it collects, aggressively push for making enrolment mandatory to access any service or legal right, enter into data sharing agreements, and shrug off the idea of responsibility when there is identity fraud, or where authentication failures occur. The fait accompli is being created in a rush.

January 2013, and anyone not enrolled for a UID began to be threatened with consequences that included not receiving subsidies more recently for LPG gas, scholarships, wages, and marriage registration. From being a facility, it had become mandatory. Yet, as recently as August 2013 in Parliament, and in September, 2013 in the Supreme Court, the government was saying that the UID was voluntary – because when one went to enrol, they were giving their consent! On September 23, 2013, the Supreme Court stepped in to direct that "no person should suffer for not getting the Aadhaar card in spite of the fact that some authority had issued a circular making it mandatory". That is, the UID is not to be mandatory.

The government's response has blown away the fig leaf of 'consent' and voluntariness. On October 4, 2013, the government was back in court asking that it be heard urgently on making the UID mandatory. The implication: that the government is asking that its authority to coerce enrolment on pain of exclusion be recognised. Given that even such acts as registering a will, or a lease deed, or drawing a salary have been made dependent on being enrolled in states such as Delhi and Maharashtra, this could spell bullying by the state, as detractors of the project warn. Even if it were to be made mandatory just for, say, LPG, that would help achieve the UIDAI's proximate purpose of databasing everybody. Once universality is achieved, ubiquity could follow with greater ease. These are two admitted ambitions of the project. In the meantime, the project is experimenting with biometrics and uniqueness, on the entire population.

And this is where the concerns about the project are currently poised.

(Usha Ramanathan works on the jurisprudence of law, poverty and rights.)

Keywords: Supreme Court's Interim order, Aadhaar card, Central government subsidies, Unique Identification programme

View comments(9)


Welfare on the cards in BrazilOCTOBER 5, 2013

NPR rolls on, regardless OCTOBER 5, 2013

Social security in capitalist landOCTOBER 5, 2013

Aadhaar card and the UID OCTOBER 6, 2013

Aadhaar de-duplication myth busted. Any answers, Mr Nilekani?

MONEYLIFE DIGITAL TEAM | 15/10/2013 05:52 PM

One person from Kerala enrolled and successfully received two Aadhaar numbers. This raises serious question over the de-duplication theory and practices of UIDAI

Aadhaar or the unique identification (UID) number is being enforced by the governments and the de-facto tagging institution, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) by claiming uniqueness of the number. However, one person from Kerala has busted the myth created by UIDAI and its chairman Nandan Nilekani.

According to a report in Matrubhoomi, a Kerala-based newspaper, PV Narayanan, a resident of Panatthadi panchayat received two Aadhaar numbers: 548780623023 and 356459270677. The names on both these letters issued by UIDAI are same, with slight different photos. Narayanan probably may have registered at two places or centres. But, surprisingly, his fingerprints seem to have passed the so-called 'robust' de-duplication test of UIDAI. Since Aadhaar includes an iris scan, this too seems to have been missed.

As Moneylife has pointed out, both the union government and UIDAI were in such a hurry that they neglected the basic principle of pilot testing and size of sample. For over 1.2 billion UID numbers, they have used data from just 20,000 people, in pairs, as the sample and on the basis of the results, gone ahead with the UID number through the 'Aadhaar' project. (How UIDAI goofed up pilot test results to press forward with UID scheme)

The case of Narayanan also mocks the false positive identification rate (FIPR) theory of UIDAI. Earlier, speaking about the FIPR, the UIDAI had said, "We will look at the point where the FPIR (i.e. the possibility that a person is mistaken to be a different person) is 0.0025%". This means, for every 1 lakh comparisons, there would be two and a half false positives. On a large scale, it means for a population of over 120 crore, there would be 18 lakh crore false positives, or, for every single Indian resident there would be 15,000 false positives! (Click to see the calculations)

The International Biometric Group (IBG) testing also shows that performance can vary drastically within technologies-some fingerprint solutions, for example, had next to no errors during testing, while others rejected nearly 1/3rd of enrolled users. "Most interestingly, the testing shows that over time, many biometric systems are prone to incorrectly rejecting a substantial percentage of users. Verifying a user immediately after enrolment is not highly challenging to biometric systems. However, after six weeks, testing shows that some systems' error rates increase ten-fold," said the research, consulting and integration firm, which works closely with the biometric industry. The report is titled "Real-World Performance Testing".

Maybe the UIDAI and its registrar have thought the second enrolment of Narayanan fromKerala as false positive and issued another Aadhaar number. Hope the UIDAI chairman would be able to find out 'original and true' Narayayan from these two biometric-based Aadhaar numbers!

Aadhaar: The number that makes a nation 'Niradhaar'

"In the meanwhile, no person should suffer for not getting the Aadhaar card in spite of thefact that some authority had issued a circularmaking it mandatory and when any person applies to get the Aadhaar Card voluntarily, it may be checked whether that person is entitled for it under the law and it should not be given to anyillegal immigrant."

-Supreme Court Order in WP 494 of 2012 on September 23rd 2013

How safe is the UID?

1. Enrolment agencies, sub-registrars, registrars and UIDAI have no legal liability for any theft, fraud, crime, and compromise of your security or privacy that may be perpetuated through Aadhaar

2. The use of Aadhaar by various agencies will now expose all your IDs, information, properties, entitlements etc. to misuse in one go thus exposing you to unprecedented risk

3. You have neither control on who uses your Aadhaar nor any way to know or verify its use by anyone

4. Your entire data and biometric is handled by non-Indian companies

How safe is your money in the banking system with UID?

1. Banks have been directed to open accounts with Aadhaar numbers instantaneously—they can no longer verify if the number links to real and unique individuals

2. Money transfers from Aadhaar accounts will not be audited if there is less than Rs10 lakh transferred in a year. This means subsidy, bribes and black money may go to shell accounts that may never be traced!

3. Money can be moved from Aadhaar-to-Aadhaar electronically without your knowledge

How protected are your entitlements and rights with UID?

1. Aadhaar does not guarantee anything. It merely becomes yet another obstacle in obtaining services from the government

2. If your biometric verification fails, you will lose all benefits across the government till you re-establish your credentials. Re-establishing credentials may be at the mercy of netasand babus

How legal is the UID?

1. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Aadhaar card has rejected the Aadhaar exercise. There is no legal sanction or budgetary sanction

2. The Planning Commission has no mandate for such projects

3. The Executive order is bad law under the constitution as it violates fundamental right

4. Under the Citizenship Rules of 2003 it is the Registrar General of India who has to maintain a National Register of Indian Citizens and issue National ID cards

Some fallacious UID Premises

1. Each UID number corresponds to a unique real person

2. Each person can have only one UID

3. All issued UID numbers are genuine

4. No identity theft is possible with the UID

5. Existing identity databases are full of fraud and duplication

6. UID database made by the same agencies/documents has no fraud or duplication

7. Identity is the barrier to service

8. Cash transfer is more effective than the service it was meant to subsidize or deliver

9. Cash transfers will reach real beneficiary

10. Several trillion Rupees can be transferred directly without any scam

11. Financial inclusion is about having a bank account

12. 18,950 rural branches can service 593,731 villages or 31 villages to a branch or 40,000 persons per rural branch through UID

13. 38,592 branches can service 5,161 cities and towns or 7,500 persons per urban branch through UID

14. Corruption in India is because the common man fakes identity

15. UID will simplify the processes to access fundamental rights, entitlements and services

Additional References












(Dr Anupam Saraph holds a PhD in designing sustainable systems from the faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences of the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, the Netherlands. Dr Saraph has held CxO and ministerial level positions and served as an independent director on the boards of Public and Private Sector companies and NGOs. As a Professor of Systems, Governance and Decision Sciences, Environmental Systems and Business he mentors students and teaches systems, information systems, environmental systems and sustainable development at universities in Europe, Asia and the Americas.)

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  • PRISM exploitation drives EU's data protection overhaul

  • Diginomica-18-Oct-2013

  • A US company would face European fines if any such transfer took ... But the PRISM scandal has provided advocates of such a clause with the ...

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  • MI5 chief Andrew Parker is right to enter the Prism debate. But why ...

  • The Guardian-09-Oct-2013

  • Members of US Congress have expressed similar consternation about ...On the Prism issue, however, they have been cheerleaders to the ...

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  • The Guardian

  • Prism Skylabs announces $15m series B funding round

  • Research Magazine-23-Oct-2013Share

  • US — Following its 2011 launch, Prism Skylabs has announced its ..."Prism Skylabs is poised to make a real difference at a critical time for ...

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